Another significant data breach shocking the global stage is a Supply-Chain Cyberattack that managed to successfully exfiltrate data from several airlines due to its massive clientele and network of airlines from its frequent flyer program collection within its database. The concerned service provider was identified as SITA that provides IT services for the aviation industry. SITA covers a wide range of services to automate and maintain systems such as, but not limited to, travel planning and booking, security and airport operations, aircraft connectivity, baggage and cockpit operations.
To be accurate, the servers that are affected belongs to SITA Passenger Service System (SITA PSS), according to their company spokesperson Edna Ayme-Yahil in one of her interviews with the media.
SITA PSS is another arm that operates the systems for processing airline passenger data belonging to the SITA Group of companies, where the headquarters is located in the E.U.
Affected Airlines according to numerous sources, the majority of airlines has not been identified in public yet. However, there are a few who came out of the open. Here is the list of airlines that were affected:
- Malaysia Air
- Singapore Airlines
- New Zealand Air
- Cathay Pacific
- Japan Airlines
- United Airlines
- American Airlines
In reality, there should be more on the list, but we will have to wait for the official statement of the other affected airlines first. The listed above airlines have issued public statements acknowledging the data types exposed concerning their passengers, some of which had already alerted their customers via emails. There is an estimate that there are around 400 airlines that are connected with SITA PSS.
The severity of the Issue
The hackers have been tinkering with the vulnerability of SITA’s systems one month earlier before the first alarm was sounded on February 24, 2021. Four hundred potential airlines are affected by the breach. However, it is believed that not all airlines are affected. According to United Airlines, the data potentially accessed were names, frequent-flyer numbers, and program status in a separate statement. Also, United emphasized its email to its customers that no other personal information or credentials were exposed that can compromise their MileagePlus Account. A commercial research group estimated that a total of two million frequent-flyers enrolled in the frequent-flyer program could have had their data hacked.
iZOOlogic estimates that from upper-middle-class earners up to the owning/ruling-class, C-level people engaged in a frequent flyer scheme could be affected by this breach. We will give you updates once we find out more. For now, our Dark Web monitoring team frequently scans the Deep web and the Dark Web for possible leaks and leads.